The suit says Facebook is looking for links in the messages that could shed more light on users' preferences. That's information that marketers would like to know.
When users compose messages that include links to a third-party website, Facebook scans the content of the message, follows the link and searches for information to profile the message-sender’s Web activity, violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy and unfair competition laws, according to the suit.
The Los Angeles Times adds, “The links to third-party websites are interpreted as a ‘like’ of that website and contribute to a profile of the sender’s activity on the Web for the purpose of targeting advertising, the lawsuit alleges.”
The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in California.
A Facebook spokesperson said the lawsuit is “without merit.”
You can see the lawsuit here. It says, “Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is ‘private’ creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook, because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored.”
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